A POST worker says his life has been ruined after he threw away a winning £100,000 scratchcard - because he didn't know the rules.
Cemal Celikkanat's marriage has broken down and he says his workmates tease him after he binned a card bearing three 100,000 symbols.
The Royal Mail driver, who has been playing scratchcards for six years, believed the amounts had to be in a line to win.
But the day after throwing away a fortune he discovered Camelot paid out for three of a kind anywhere on the card in the 100,000 Blue game.
The 38-year-old desperately checked the bin outside the shop where he bought the ticket - Charnock News and Booze, on Charnock Dale Road, Charnock - but was told it was emptied every day and the contents sent to Sheffield incinerator.
He obtained the serial number from shopkeeper Geoff Wright but Camelot has said it cannot pay out without a ticket.
Cemal, of Fairview Road, Dronfield, groaned: "When I found out I felt dizzy and dropped to my knees - it was like being hit over the head. I threw away 100,000.
"I feel so terrible, I think about it every day, it's had a massive impact on my life.
"I have left my wife - we were having financial difficulties and this was the final straw. My colleagues tease me saying I must be rich because I can afford to throw away a fortune.
"When I bought my first scratchcard six years ago you had to have three in a row to win. I assumed that applied to all the games I've played since then - I can't bear to think about how much money I've thrown away.
"I play scratchcards with a friend at work and I was always known as the unlucky one - now I know why."
Cemal said as he scratched he saw two 100,000 symbols in a line, but was disappointed not to complete the row - although he noticed a third elsewhere on the 3x3 grid.
But it wasn't until the next day when a co-worker at Sheffield East sorting office, on Pitt Lane, Manor Top, asked him to pick up her 25 scratchcard winnings that the penny dropped.
The dad-of-three added: "I noticed the 25s weren't in a line, but she insisted it was a winner. I went round asking colleagues who all agreed with her, and that's when the panic started.
"Now I play more than ever. God gave me a chance but I didn't use it. I hope he looks kindly on me and gives me another one."
Shop owner Geoff Wright said: "He rushed in saying he'd thrown away a 100,000 winner. I confirmed the rules and he was as sick as a parrot. I feel for him."
Camelot's website shows two unclaimed 100,000 scratchard prizes.
A Camelot spokeswoman said they sympathised, but couldn't pay out without a ticket.
She added: "We have been in contact with this player, and whilst we understand and sympathise with his frustration at having thrown away what he believes to be a winning scratchcard, we have explained that all players must be in possession of one to claim a prize.
"We would urge all our players to ensure they fully understand the game rules before disposing of any tickets."
Unclaimed prizes go into the Good Causes fund, she added.
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